International Cannabis Litigation: Colorado Court Finds No Personal Jurisdiction in Trademark Battle
The District of Colorado recently dismissed a lawsuit against a Dutch cannabis company for lack of personal jurisdiction in a case that highlights two issues common to international litigation. Growcentia, Inc. v. Jemie B.V., Case No. 20-cv-2619-WJM-NYW (D. Colo. Aug. 10, 2021). The first concerns service of process (the complaint and summons) on foreign corporations under the Hague Convention. The second concerns whether a foreign cannabis corporation may be required to defend itself in the jurisdiction where plaintiff filed the lawsuit.
The lawsuit itself concerns trademark infringement. Plaintiff produces “science-based solutions for cannabis and hemp cultivators” under the MAMMOTH product line and recently introduced a fungicide and pesticide, CANNCONTROL. Plaintiff sells CANNCONTROL with the MAMMOTH mark. Defendant is a Dutch limited liability company with its principal place of business in the Netherlands. (For background on cannabis in the Netherlands, see here, here, and here).
According to Defendant, it does not manufacture, sell, advertise, distribute or market products to anyone in the United States. But Defendant claims to own several “CANNA” and “CANNA-formative” trademarks for goods and services in the cannabis industry. In July 2020, Defendant issued Plaintiff a letter demanding that Plaintiff abandon its “CANNCONTROL” trademark application and never seek